New adoption guidelines announced


Michael Gove has criticised limitations put on adopters in the past - based on ethnicity, sexual orientation and faith

New adoption guidelines have been announced by the Government to break down the barriers faced by potential parents and children.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said some of the limitations put on adopters in the past – based on ethnicity, sexual orientation and faith – was “social engineering of the worst kind”.

Black children took over 50% longer on average to be placed for adoption than children from other ethnic groups, and children over five were four times less likely to be adopted compared to children under five in the last year.

Mr Gove said the average amount of time children spend in care before being adopted is 21 months. “One of the reasons that they sound so long is that for far too long, we have made an idea of the perfect the enemy of the good,” he said.

Speaking about the barriers faced by adopters previously, he said: “We said that this particular couple can’t adopt because, in the past, they might have the wrong sexuality, they might even have the wrong ethnic background.

“It could be that they’re too young, it could be that their social background doesn’t make for perfect match. That sort of thinking is social engineering of the worst kind.”

Hitting back at critics who say children should only be adopted by people of the same cultural background, Mr Gove said: “Actually, it’s a culturally right decision for us to say that we’re not going to be bound by skin colour, or faith, or ethnic background.”

He spoke about his own experience of being adopted at the age of four months.

He said: “There’s one area of my direct responsibility that means even more to me, and that is the ability that we have to ensure that children who grow up in the most vulnerable circumstances can be given a loving and stable home.

“I was given a second chance. And as a result of the love and affection, the stability and care that my parents gave me, all the opportunities that I subsequently had in life were there because they chose, at a critical moment in my life, to become my parents.”

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